Now for another reuploaded scenario. Presenting an adaption and continuation of one of Scott Palter's scenarios from the old Yahoo alternate history group from 1999.
In it, the divergence is LBJ deciding to not run for VP. As a result, the democratic party has an internal breakup in the convention of 1960. The left goes for Humphrey, the center Kennedy and dixie Wallace-- this leads to a Wallace run siphoning off votes from the solid south 8 years early. Since the solid south is more important to the democrats in 1960 than in 1968, Wallace does more damage to the Kennedy campaign than he did to Humphrey in 1968.
The nixon years tend to be reasonably quiet and are more of a continuation of the 1950s than were OTL's 60s. The Vietnam war never happens, but the United States squishes a leftist rebellion in Cuba. The nixon-wallace-reagan realignment begins 8 years early as ongoing race riots push much of the white vote GOP and the Democrats embrace the civil rights and lifestyle 'new left' a bit early. Nixon of course gets to go to china.
The 1970s avoid our world's economic slump, but see visible geopolitical change. The first is the end of NATO as Western Europe moves further left than OTL, and becomes 'neutralized' thanks to more tactful diplomacy and soviet plans for gradual withdrawel. American troops are out of europe by 1980 and soviet troops mostly leave 1985 to 2000. After all, in this world without a cuban crisis Khrustchev gets to remain in charge and put more diplomatically... pragmatic successors; detente begins in the early 1960s and continues albeit with occasional periods of harder cold war. These soviet leaders take advantage of the 12 days war in 1969 to engineer radical coups in much of the middle east -- by 1980, the only truly pro-American areas in the region are Turkey, Morocco, Iran and the United Arab Emirates(now including both Bahrain and Qatar!).
Recent years have seen a partial shift in favor of the "free world" as of the early and middle portion of the 2000s with the solidification of the Sino-American military alliance which has been expressed with the Second Korean and Indochinese wars. This has been accompanied with coups in Nigeria and Kenya along with the final defeat of the MPLA in Angola. Yes, one or two nations may change sides but the trendline of the last few decades has been towards the crystalization of the cold war -- everyone backs rebels of any sort against their foes and globalization as we know it has not ocurred.
However, despite recent shifts the cold war continues onwards as ever. After all, the wary diplomatic dancing between east and west has been going on for over six and a half decades without that much change in the balance of power. At least nowadays it's largely tepid.
THE FREE WORLD
With the communist world continuing to be a problem, there are more voices than OTL calling for increased integration of at least the developed portions of the "free world". They have had limited successes, in the form of passport-less travel between developed members of the Core Economic Zone, lesser visa requirements for other CEZ/pro-american states along with more expansive exchange student programs.
America remains the leader of the free world. It's a more clean-cut, nationalist, socially conservative, homogenous and conformist nation than our 2012 America. Gay marriage isn't on the agenda yet, sexual harassment laws are nonexistent, gun control simply doesn't exist, nonwhite immigration never got started. Oddly, enough despite it's more conservative social views, it's a more secular nation with the Evangelical right never being stirred into action. America may be socially conservative but it's not static, as the following examples of gradual social evolution show: Fewer states have sodomy laws than before the supreme court abolished them in OTL, abortion laws are as liberal as OTL by now, drug policy is shifting in a direction of treatment as opposed to imprisonment. Black people got the right to vote and civil liberties along with equal funding for their neighborhoods in a gradual process of reform 1960 to 1978, which saw more give and take. This has side effects such as 1/3 of the black voting base voting for Republicans. Economically, America has universal healthcare, actually enforces anti-trust laws and has actual banking regulation but isn't that different from OTL, except for the fact that there is a smaller regulatory burden in most areas of the economy.There is more political participation and activism because of the supreme court's being weaker -- the congressional deadlock matters to more people. The political parties have similar coalitions except for the fact that Democrats don't have the demographic advantages they do in OTL thanks to immigration. There have been fewer democratic presidents since 1960 than OTL because of this reason. Puerto Rico, and the pacific trust territories under the name of Isola are both states so the US flag has 52 stars. Isola has statehood due to cold war reasons leading to more military settlement along with increased transpacific trade
America's near abroad in Central America and the greater Carib is more closely tied to the imperial core in Washington than in OTL. The flip side of this, is that It's more capitalist, less democratic and wealthier. Cuba, Costa Rica, The West Indies Federation, the dominican Republic are all fully developed with the rest being middle income and on the way up. With it being harder to get visas to enter Europe, Havana has replaced Amsterdam as America's favorite place to indulge in vices illegal at home.
The British have lost their empire decades ago, but still lead a small commonwealth of Canada, Australia, west indies, guyana, malaysia, singapore and Belize. Britain is more egalitarian, nationalist and militarized than OTL. Yes, they are more anti-Europe, particularly France than our world.
Korea is recovering from the strain of digesting the former north, but it's economy is growing rapidly once again and birthrates revived once . It's still very militarized because of the Soviet Union being to the north.
Japan's economy never crashed, in part due to it avoiding the bubble. There are 30 million more Japanese than OTL, most of whom live in areas which in OTL have started to empty out or settled Japan's north. A more conservative western world hasn't imported much Japanese culture so anime and manga remain the domain of the Japanese, western fansubbers and scanlators. However, even though the culture doesn't sell some elements of the political right in the west are looking to Japan's nationalism, capitalism, public order and social solidarity for inspiration in recent years.
Taiwan smoothed out it's diplomatic issues with China and settled into a "two chinas" status quo and is now fully developed and less militarized. It's also richer than OTL, thanks to the massive market of mandarin speakers in the People's Republic of China that a diplomatically secure Taiwan feels safe trading with.
Much of Latin America are military dictatorships under American protection that have aligned themselves against the European-Soviet alliance. The economic policies of these regimes resembles Pinochet's Chile but with more protectionism. There is of course more United States investment than OTL.
South Africa and Rhodesia remain segregated even now. The anti-apartheid movement is slightly less relevant than our world's free Tibet movement.
The People's Republic of China is a fascist dictatorship like OTL. The difference is that in this world, the chinese are on America's side against the soviet union so they enjoy better public relations. The economy is a decade behind OTL's China economically thanks to the fact that there's 1) more military commitments 2.) extensive space commitments 3) more protectionist western governments. THe demographic situation is better, since China avoided the 'one child policy' and resulting demographic wall. Birthrates declined and there are only 250 million chinese more than OTL. Unfortunately, the environmental outlook isn't much better than OTL in China because orbital industry is something that's only affordable for the richer portions of the capital world.
China has a few puppet states in the form of Burma, north Vietnam, Laos and most recently Bhutan. All of these are poorly run military regimes. The only upside is that of late, Beijing is pushing it's puppets to adopt capitalism.
THE EASTERN BLOCK
The Soviet Union is an ethnic slavic military dictatorship now shambling towards capitalism. Besides nationalism at home as an ideological glue, the Soviet Union uses protectonist economics and anti-colonialism abroad to promote unity and solidarity. The long period of detente combined with the military industrial complex not being allowed to run at a seige pace, gave the system a decade and a half longer before real problems hit. This, at least meant that the gerontocracy was dead before real reform was needed which allowed the system to survive. The rulers of the Soviet Union are hard men who understand the secrets of power and what is to be done to maintain control. This includes 'managed freedom' for economics, even more extensive efforts at internet censorship and lots of military parades. Soviet birthrates have declined, and the solution has been to turn the Soviet Union into a nation of immigrants. Since 1990, populations of Afro-soviets, indo-soviets, sino-soviets and arabo-soviets have grown in the big cities. Those that don't embrace Soviet culture, including the Russian language in enough time get deported.
The Soviet Union has quite a few allies in the third world who are attracted to it's anti-colonial message. Incidently, it also has troops in places like Afghanistan or Punjab. A few, like Egypt, Mongolia, South Vietnam or Peru are even willing allies!
The only three Eastern European regimes to remain fully under soviet control are Bulgaria, Albania and Romania. These nations have been economically reformed and serve as labs for testing out new ideas -- Bulgaria was where they tried out the new filtering systems.
The other pole of the Eastern Block, is the European Community. It's more left-wing, authoritarian and militarized than our western Europe. Incidently, environmental politics is a bigger part of the unifying glue. As a result, Europe leads the world in alternative energy, non-human related biotechnology and energy efficiency technology. This "feasible and sustainable socialism" uses the specter of environmental disaster and resource-related collapse to justify opposition to capitalism and rally the masses. Besides providing capital and helping in joint research projects, Europe serves as a safety valve for soviet dissidents. There are those who argue for a Europe that can say no, a right-wing Europe that removes soviet influence from eastern Europe. These people were fringe cranks, but are starting to look more credible as of late -- after all, the USSR has taken trillions of marks in "development aid" without living up to promises of liberalization. However, the faction to watch are certain strains of the left, which argue that the USSR is just fascism in red pajamas and the US is just capitalistic and that Europe needs to stand on it's own.
Much of Eastern Europe has mostly democratized and are now E.C. associated states. Yugoslavia and Czechslovakia are both full democracies while Poland and Hungary are dominated by left-wing coalition governments. Even the fully democratic states have to allow their communist parties a say in foreign policy, along with being in government coalitions.
Finland remains finlandized, of course.
India is an economic basketcast and more than a generation behind OTL economically. It destroyed Pakistan in 1971 and is even more hated by muslim nations than OTL's Israel. This has been noted by American strategic planners, who use this knowledge to stir up the middle east's rebels who oppose the pro-soviet regimes. Like the european Union, India notices the USSR's not living up to commitments to liberalize and there are undercurrents of people who'd like to work with western europe to oppose the soviets.
Besides the free world and the eastern block, there are the disputed regions of the world. Sri Lanka, andean south america, Cambodia, etc. These are all mad max lands. Advisors, mercenaries and special forces from the two blocs constantly clash. As the cold war crystalized, this zone of chaos has slowly shrunk over time -- Sendero Luminoso took over Peru, Nigeria was de facto partitioned, etc. In fact, there are ongoing negotiations regarding the split of Sri Lanka into Indian and American occupied zones.
Israel is very well-armed and doesn't much like anybody. They build very deep underground these days.
There are of course a few irrelevant neutrals like Oman and Nepal but like the chaos zones, the number of truly neutral states has declined. Afghanistan fell to the soviets in the 1980s and the Swiss were pressured to become an associate E.C. member in 1994 to name a few examples of states choosing sides.
Liechtenstein is still independent of the EC and still a tax haven.
Without the slump of the 1970s, combined with cold war-related investment, combined with somewhat different atittudes towards risky technology has advanced even faster than OTL. As of 2012, the difference has become more like 15 to 20 years(aerospace, computer networking, fuel cells and other spinoffs from military/aerospace technologies) ahead of OTL in some fields, with the overall average being 7 to 12 years ahead of OTL depending on the field for other fields. The internet's emerging in the 1980s and becoming big in the middle of the 1990s is merely the biggest and most obvious ripple effect. As a result of the radical coups in the middle east in 1970, there has been largescale pushes for energy efficiency, nuclear power, orbital solar, asteroid mining, alternate energy and other related fields. This is spurred on by increased military spending by each individual member of the two giant blocs -- The nations of the world from from Portugal to Paraguay to Poland and beyond all spend rather more on arms production.
A differing intellectual environment in 1960-80 leads to eugenics being rather more respectable which has the effect of 1) increasing the range of permissible avenues of research 2) decreasing potential opposition to biotechnology 3) certain changes in cultural politics(weaker anti-abortion movement 4) ensuring increased budgets for biotechnology. This is a world with "drain-cleaner" pills for heart disease, cures for Diabetes and "magic potion" productivity-enhancement drugs that enhance memory or concentration are now starting to get approval from agencies like the FDA.
Both the "free world" and the "eastern block" have large space programs including lunar, L-5, asteroid bases along with multiple manned missions to the moon, mars, etc. Both have major kinetic energy weapons, orbital lasers and both have effective ABM systems in orbit -- the militarization of space is truly a reality. On the economic side of things, both have sizable orbital solar power, asteroid mining and do considerable space manufacturing making major use of asteroidal, lunar and near earth asteroidal materials. The fact that industry is starting to move to space has made earth a cleaner planet, especially in the third world, soviet union, Japan and China.
Globalization is less of a factor than OTL. After all, the two big economic giants of the United States and European Community have a great deal of suspicion and distrust. More people in developed nations have technical backgrounds and work in factories than in OTL -- instead of moving industrial production to the third world they have chosen to continue employing firstworlders making capital goods and advanced electronics. That said, within the two big blocs, there is much interinvestment and economic cooperation.
There is a sizeable European and ex-soviet refugee population in the CEZ countries along with a sizeable US, UK, Chinese, Latin american one in the eastern bloc. This began with trading Castro and company for gulag prisoners in the early 1960s following the suppression of communism in Cuba and has only continued.
This is a more prosperous world. Spinoffs of space technology combined with slowly decreasing costs for resources and avoiding certain OTL errors relating to trusting the financial sector have created more prosperity than OTL. Standards of living in developed nations are one to two decades ahead of OTL. This includes there being rather less inflation. Normal economic growth rates in developed nations are more like 4-6% as the norm with the United States tending to the higher end and the less economically efficient states of Western Europe the low end. Part of this shows up in increased consumer spending but a good chunk of it is taken up in leisure time, investment/savings, reinvestment of capital, environmental cleanup, etc. There are recessions, but the overall economic picture is better than OTL for the man on the street.
Culturally, this world is altered -- it's a mix of the old combined with the different. Nationalism, along with at least the forms of traditionalism remain more viable in western nations. This of course has the downside of increased racism, but at at least there is more civic pride, belief in public order and social solidarity. A visible side effect is that birthrates in developed nations don't fall as fast or anywhere nearly as much as OTL. Even without mass nonwhite immigration, Europe and the United States have as many people as OTL. Religion declines in both the United States and Western Europe after 1960, but not quite as much as OTL and there is mo]re public observance of the forms(this is why gay marriage isn't yet on the radar, but at least sodomy laws are gone, minor drug use is more tolerated(granted, without examples of major drug use or hippie subcultures this is easier) and a few european nations have civil unions). Yes, there has been social change but it's been evolutionary and not revolutionary with lots of compromise.
Another unexpected side effect of increased social solidarity is a more outgoing culture in western nations. Malls, arcades and even despite the rise of the internet and even more format changes than OTL video stores are all doing better than OTL. A secondary effect of lesser cocooning is bookstores managing to thrive in an environment where ebooks exist, instead of OTL's case of amazon.com and the kindle doing severe damage. A society that's less cocooned isn't a fertile niche for "social networking". At this point "social networking" as we know is regarded as an 80s to 90s SF cliche and the attempts to start it up have failed.
This has produced a bit of different popular culture. Classical music and jazz have both benefitted from this environment of more gradual cultural evolution. There have even been two big revival of big band swing in the 1970s and 2000s. Rock music took longer to shift from it's 1950s roots and remained clean-cut for longer. Rap and Punk both never really got off the ground, but Ska and a form of "Jazzcore" are big. Science fiction and in particular near-future frontier stories involving settling mars or the belt is quite popular. Oddly enough, this boost is confined to hard SF only; alternate history, time travel, fantasy, transhumanism and other more 'out there' stuff is actually a bit _less_ popular and respectable than OTL.
Even intellectual history has been changed by this world. Firstly, you have the Old Left remaining stronger in western nations. Then there is the weakened state of the "New Left". There is more rationalism and faith in science than our world, which is part of why there is more funding for science.This has ripple effects even outside of the west with the extreme reduction in political islamist sentiments compared to our middle east.